Monthly Archives: July 2008

Bridge Builders 2008

Here is what I am up to this week. I am participating as one of the adult leaders in Bridge Builders, an intergenerational outreach ministry done by my church every summer. Today, we are heading to Washington DC for homeless otureach.

Keep up with the team by visiting our blog at http://www.bridgebuilders2008.blogspot.com/

Friends and family… please keep me and the entire Bridge Builders team in your prayers. Godspeed!

Dangerous Wonder

Is the biggest obstacle to living the Christian life not giving into passion but the lack of it? Michael Yaconelli suggests as much in his Dangerous Wonder. I have just started the book. Yet in only the first few pages, I am captivated by his argument.

Here’s just a taste of what he had to say.

“The critical issue is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore. He changes them into ‘nice people.'”

Yaconelli also wrote, “Sin is more than turning our backs on God, it is turning our backs on life!…The greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but are no longer astonished or amazed.”

I agree that what we need more Christians who live by faith. Jesus challenged His disciples to do the impossible and stand up not just get along with everyone. While we shouldn’t be rebels without a cause, we certainly shouldn’t just play it safe either. Thanks Mike for giving me something to think about.

Is there enough divine wonder in my life? What about you?

Lakeland – Revival or Farce?

A friend recently e-mailed me the video clip below and shared his concern about the events taking place down in Lakeland, Fla.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKA_X1zxOQc

I understand my friend’s concern about people getting caught up in reports of miracles and charismatic services if the Gospel message is being compromised. While I certainly understand concern about focusing on angels and not Jesus, I don’t know if we can look at one part of a sermon and completely judge an entire ministry. Just as sound bites or YouTube clips can be misused in politics, the same thing can happen in discussions about issue of faith. Bentley has a point that many Christians believe in the Jesus of the Bible, but they struggle with believing in Christ’s presence here and now in our world. Many of us struggle with the supernatural. I know that I do. It can be easy to outright dismiss anything that we don’t understand.

At the same time, I am always suspicious of people going some place to here some person to help them in their relationship with God. Mostly, I believe we need to be more abandoned to God right where we are at home. While I believe we need others in Christ’s body, I tend to think that many people go on pilgrimages, visit “anointed” leaders or go to worship/revival gatherings (such as Brownsville, Toronto, Lakeland, etc.) for the wrong reasons. But then, “Who am I to judge someone else’s servant?”

I have known a few godly people who have gone down to Lakeland and claimed to witness real moves of the Holy Spirit. I have also heard things like what you sent that cause me to believe the opposite. I am not sure what to believe other than that real revival starts on my knees more than anything else. Real healing happens as I personally allow God to do a deep work in my soul. And I don’t have to go to Florida for that. All I have to do is have the courage to really trust God and encounter Him at home.

It is our responsibility to test any teaching that comes out of the Lakeland movement by comparing it to Scripture. One thing I do agree with Bentley on is that we can all grow in faith and our ability to experience God’s Spirit work in our lives.

Here are some sites to view to consider what Bentley and others are saying about the ministry taking place in Lakeland. You be the judge. May you learn from it whatever God needs to show you so that you will grow closer in your walk with Jesus.

 http://www.freshfire.ca/  – Main Todd Bentley Web Site

http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Id=106&pid=8  – Fresh Fire Ministries Statement of Faith

http://www.freshfire.ca/?Id=1059&pid=993 – Todd Bentley answers his critics

http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/29/1075189.aspx – MSNBC news story on Lakeland “Revival”

http://www.christianitymagazine.co.uk/features/florida.aspx – Article by Christianity Today

Open Door of Grace & Mercy

One of the greatest gifts that we can give someone in our lives is the opportunity to reconcile or make amends for wrongs they may have done to us. While I don’t believe we ever have to put ourselves in places where we can be physically or emotionally harmed, we should certainly give people the opportunity to seek redemption.

I have thought a lot about this open door policy after listening to a student describe the impossible road he faces in restoring his relationship with his family. Whether or not the situation is as bleak as he believes, his perception of reality is what will impact his actions. This person basically told me that he has said he was sorry too many times in the past and failed to really live up to his promises to change. He doesn’t want to disappoint any of his family or friends any more. I really felt for the young man becauce I believe his desire to change and seek to reconciliation is sincere even though his previous attempts have not been.

The above story illustrates why I believe it is important that people in our lives know that there is always another chance with God. His grace and mercy is what allows us to show out-of-this-world love to others. When we understand how much grace and mercy that God has given us, we can be free to share this same great gift with others.

If you know someone who appears to be a lost cause, I encourage you to speak honest words of encouragement and hope. You don’t need to tell them what they want to hear. This is not about making people feel good. The focus is letting them know that there is always a road back to a godly life and recovery if they choose to take it.

Who do you know that seems like they may never make the right decisions? Who do you know that has deeply hurt you or others that you love? Is this a spouse, child, parent, friend, neighbor, pastor or teacher? I encourage you to let them know that the door is always open even though things may never be quite the same as they were in the past.

Buchanan on Obama

It isn’t every day that I find myself in complete agreement with Pat Buchanan. But a friend of mine sent an editorial that Buchanan wrote on Obama’s views on religion. I found that Pat hit the key issues. He really seemed to understand that many of the greatest religious leaders in history would have never accomplished what they did if they took Obama’s attitude toward faith, politics and culture.

Consider what Pat had to say…

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/PatrickJBuchanan/2008/07/01/the_wars_of_religion_return

Words That Last

When you are long gone what will remain from your life? I thought about this recently while listening to a song written by my friend Tamice Hasty. The top things that come to mind are stories, descendants, art, buildings, music, genes, inventions, personal legacy. But most of these fade after time unless you are really famous or do something very noteworthy. The family tree for most people only goes back so far until we are merely a name on a chart. But there is one thing that we do in life that lives on because it is always remembered by the only One who exists apart time. And that is prayer.

The prayers of godly saints echo through the ages. Our prayers are like incense that rise up to God. This idea shows how really important our prayers are throughout time. Sometime it can be easy to dismiss prayer as just wishful thinking or ideal chatter when faced with the harsh realities of life. But Scripture is clear that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Maybe prayer is truly one of the longest lasting things we can do in our lives.

Consider these lyrics from Tamice’s song.

Synergy of the Ages

how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity
it’s like a precious oil streaming down
i wanna take my stand and join the cloud of witnesses
that’s where the Lord commands the blessing

i want to get lost inside your story
and echo the prayers of old
God let my groans be written on the pages
it’s the synergy of all the ages, the synergy of all the ages

all these in faith believed though they never received the promise
that i might join their fight
Lord let the oil that rests on their priestly robes, flow down to me
and I’ll join their ancient cry

you will not be silent and you will not forget
you hear the cry of your people and you will answer them